BILLINGS – A man today admitted allegations that he held up a convenience store in Billings and shot the clerk before leaving in a pickup truck, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Darren Samuel Whiteman, 36, a transient, pleaded guilty to robbery affecting commerce and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence as charged in an indictment. Whiteman faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the robbery charge and a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release on the firearm charge.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided and ordered Whiteman detained pending further proceedings.
The prosecution said in court documents that on Nov. 24, 2019, the Billings Police Department responded to a robbery involving a firearm at the Gas n Go, at 800 Jackson Ave. During the robbery, the clerk was shot in the arm by the suspect, who possessed a pistol. Moments before firing, the victim reported that the suspect said, “Open the cash register. I’m robbing the place. Imma pop this bitch.” The suspect left the store immediately after firing the shot and was seen on surveillance footage leaving the area as a passenger in a pickup truck. Through the investigation, the BPD identified the suspect as Whiteman.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Billings Police Department.
This case is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative launched in the fall of 2019 to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Through Project Guardian, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Montana is working to enhance coordination of its federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. In addition, Project Guardian supports information sharing and taking action when individuals are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mental health reasons or because they are a prohibited person.